New Brunswick

Charges dropped against 2 Bathurst police officers accused in shooting death

Two Bathurst police officers charged in the shooting death of Michel Vienneau more than two years ago will not stand trial for manslaughter, a judge ruled on Friday.

Constables Patrick Bulger and Mathieu Boudreau were both charged with manslaughter in death of Michel Vienneau

All charges against Const. Mathieu Boudreau and Const. Patrick Bulger of the Bathurst Police Force have been dropped. (CBC)

All charges against two Bathurst police officers accused in the shooting death of Michel Vienneau more than two years ago have been dropped.

Const. Patrick Bulger, 38, of Beresford and Const. Mathieu Boudreau 26, of Dunlop were each facing charges of manslaughter with a weapon, assault with a weapon and unlawfully pointing a firearm.

But ​Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman ruled Friday they will not stand trial.

The prosecution failed to meet the threshold that both accused engaged in an illegal act when they attempted to arrest Vienneau, she said.

Boudreau and his family wept and other supporters in the Bathurst courtroom cheered. Vienneau's brother sat stone-faced.

Outside the courthouse, Crown prosecutor Stephen Holt spoke on behalf of Vienneau's family members. They are devastated by the judge's decision, he said.

Michel Vienneau, pictured here with his common law partner, Annick Basque, was fatally shot by Bathurst police in January 2015. (Facebook)
Vienneau, 51, was shot in the parking lot of the Via Rail station in Bathurst on Jan. 12, 2015, after getting off a train from Montreal.

​​Court documents filed in a lawsuit by Vienneau's partner, Annick Basque, revealed police were acting on a Crime Stoppers tip when they stopped the couple as they were coming off the train.

Other documents filed by the City of Bathurst say the officers fired in self-defence after Vienneau's car accelerated toward one of them, pinning him against a snowbank.

Boudreau and Bulger were charged in November 2015, following an investigation by the Nova Scotia RCMP, who concluded Vienneau was not involved in any criminal activity.

The two officers have been suspended with pay since then, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Dugas-Horsman issued her ruling, based on a preliminary inquiry that was held on non-consecutive dates between August and October.

Preliminary inquiries are held to determine whether there was enough evidence to proceed to trial.

With files from Bridget Yard